Summary: Sermon outlining God's call on our lives
Text: 1 Samuel 3: 1- 10.
How’s your hearing?
Have you ever noticed how some people have selective hearing? They only hear things they want to hear, usually when it benefits them; my dad was a bit like that. In the days before I met Lorraine and well before I crossed the threshold of an Army hall, I used to go to the local working men’s club with him. We would play snooker and have a few drinks, and I would notice just how selective his hearing was, how quickly it came and went. Whenever it got round to his turn to pay for the drinks his hearing would suddenly take a turn for the worse, only to miraculously return when someone said “Would you like another pint Les?” or “it’s your turn on the table!” Children have the same problem, how many times do you have to say to a child “tidy your room!” before you get a response, then compare it to the immediate response you get when you ask if they want some sweets or ice cream. I believe we’ve all been guilty at some point in our lives of pretending not to hear someone telling us something if it doesn’t suit us. How many times have the men in the room turned down the wife receptors in your ears, especially when there is something on the telly you want to watch? Sometimes we turn down the God receptors in our ears, in Ezekiel 12 verse 2, God says "these people have ears to hear but they never hear eyes to see, but they never see".
God knows people are like that, and throughout scripture we can hear him say: "Listen to me! Listen to me!"
In Deuteronomy 4: 1, he says “Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live...” and again in Deuteronomy 6: 3-4, he says “Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
In Isaiah 55 verse 3, he says “Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”
Jesus himself is quoted 6 times in the synoptic gospels as saying “He that has ears let him hear.”
Why does God want us to listen?
Look again at what he is saying “Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you ...”
“Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”
God is saying “I want to bless you. I want to give you what your heart desires… BUT I can’t if you won’t listen.”
God wants us to hear His voice because that’s the only way we’ll receive all the blessings He wants to give us. It should be so simple, yet we make it so complicated, why? Because from the day we are born our hearts are inclined towards deceit. In Jeremiah 17 verse 9 we read “The heart is deceitful above all things...” We hear only what we want to hear, and we put ourselves before God, we all do it even the most righteous among us does it occasionally because even the most righteous has a deceitful heart. How do we heal the deceitful heart, and open ourselves up to the full blessings God wants to place in our lives?
Let’s look again at 1 Samuel verses 3 and 4 "The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, ’Here I am.’"
I don’t know about you, but I just love the precise details of scripture. At first reading you could be forgiven for thinking they are insignificant, but I believe that the details are there for a reason. In these verses it’s not important to know that Samuel was sleeping, the importance is in knowing where he was sleeping. “Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.”
The writer wanted us to see that when Samuel heard God’s voice he was sleeping NEXT to God.
James 4:8 tells us "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."
If we’re going to hear God’s voice, and know His will – we have to be in the same room as He is, that’s why it’s important to come to church. However, just being in the same room doesn’t guarantee we will hear his voice.